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Old 05-11-2013, 10:51 AM   #5
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Joined: Nov 2006
Location: Spacecoaster FL
Oddometer: 7,390
Originally Posted by jayareus View Post
So I'm a complete beginner looking to get my first bike, and I think I've settled on a KLR, but I want to get some questions out of the way first.

I was thinking a used '08 or '09. How reliable are those for someone who knows nothing about bike maintenance (and doesn't really have the time to learn in the next year or two. I want something trouble free that will start when I need it to)

I'm a medical student who would be using the bike mainly to commute from my apartment to school and to hospitals (mostly a few miles apart and without highways), but would occasionally need to keep up on the freeway (maybe 70ish mph?).

I need a bike that has a way to transport a briefcase and medical supplies in waterproof fashion (I thought of getting a side case big enough for this? and keeping a rain suit in the other one? is this realistic?)

I need a bike that will be reliable in the cold of winter, when there is maybe some ice on the ground (since I don't have a long commute I was hoping I could use this as my main form of transportation... is this a really dumb idea?)

It seems like a great beginner bike from all I've read, I just need to make sure it fits my needs before I commit. I'm 6'2 so I think I'm tall enough, and love the option to take it on fire roads and camping trips.

Is this the right bike for me? Is there a better one out there? The only other very beginner-friendly bike I've seen suggested as much would be the tu250x, and my fear with that bike is weighing it down with a suitcase and books in panniers would make it too slow on the highway, and that it wouldn't preform as well in the winter as a dual sport would on ice. Am I sorely mistaken?

Thanks for any and all the help!
There are many bikes that could do what you ask, but I'd stick with a dualsport for riding in winter. Also have a look at the DR-Z400S, the DR650SE, and WR250R.

The air/oil-cooled DR650SE would be my choice. It's simpler than the KLR. It's slightly lower and lighter. Parts and upgrades are cheap. It's not prone to drinking oil, being vibey on the interstate, or overheating in summer traffic. Throw on a used IMS 5gal tank and a Seat Concepts seat, then make your own $10 windscreen.
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